X-Message-Number: 10241
From: "Scott Badger" <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #10229 - #10236
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 1998 09:22:25 -0500

On Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 08:31:59 -0700
Rand Simberg <> wrote:

>> Values are not axiomatic. In order for something to be axiomatic, you
must show that any attempt to prove them presupposes them. General human >
values can be derived from your requirements for survival as a human being

and for your particular requirements for survival and flourishing >> as an 
>So, are you arguing that Christianity is derivable from our general need
for survival and flourishing (i.e., in the absence of any knowledge about
>Christianity, one could predict it from general human physical needs), or
are you arguing that Christianity is not a "human value"?  If the former,
>please show me such a derivation, or if the latter, please "prove" it.

I think there's a pretty obvious relationship between the survival instinct
and most religions.  The desire for an afterlife is simply an extension of
our intense desire to stay alive (especially cryonicists).  In addition, our
grief over the loss of loved ones persuades us to accept the notion that
they are still alive *somewhere*.  Not all religions buy into the afterlife
scenario, of course, but you make reference to Christianity, in particular.
It's my personal belief that Christianity capitalizes on our fear of death
to promote the denial of our ultimate mortality.  Debating this issue here
is probably not appropriate, however.

>Bob Ettinger states:
>> But
>> heaven cannot be a fundamental goal; "fundamental" in my lexicon means
>> in by biology, essentially shared by everyone in a certain sense.
>Well, with such a restricted definition of fundamental goal, it would seem
to preclude .  In your sense, which is genotypical, the only fundamental
>goal is to make sure that your genes are spread better than those of the
guy in the next cave.  That doesn't require, art, science, heaven or, your
>favorite, happiness.

Art is non-verbal language that likely developed before verbal language and
language has proven to have a very high survival value.  Science is about
systematically decoding the world in order to control the world, and that
which is controlled is certainly less threatening to one's survival.
Heaven's relationship to survival was already mentioned.  And I think you'll
find most things that make you happy are pro-survival or mimic pro-survival
activities.  Spreading one's genes may not always *require* these human
inventions, but they are certainly survival-enhancing in nature.

>I tend to define fundamental human goals as phenotypical, based on my
empirical observations of human behavior.

The fundamental goal is genotypic survival which requires phenotypic
survival.  The phenotype is designed to facilitate the survival of the
genotype, not the other way around.

>Men and women have allowed the skin
>to be slowly and totally flayed from their bodies rather than renounce
their gods.

Yes, this is tragically sad.

>I don't think goals get much more fundamental than that.  You
>may consider them mentally ill, but you can only "prove" that within the
confines of your own tidy little world view, which is *not* universally

Not mentally ill, per se.  Infected by powerfully virulent memes, perhaps.
BTW, I hope you're not suggesting that universally shared ideas = accurate

Long life,

Scott Badger

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